By Jocelyn MacRae
Sharing your abortion story can be difficult because of the stigma surrounding this topic. If you live in a country or are part of a community where it isn’t spoken about, it can create a sense of isolation and heaviness. Yet, sharing your experience can be a beautiful form of self-expression and activism and can help normalise the topic, empowering others to step into their truth and feel like they belong.
So, if you have someone who it is safe to share your abortion story with or you’re contemplating it, here are some of the benefits.
“Telling your abortion story can be a powerful form of self-expression or activism,” say Anna Borges and Cathryne Keller in their article, How to know if sharing your abortion story online is the right move, on Self.com.
If you have had an abortion, then it is part of who you are and your story and journey through life. It isn’t a part that you need to hide away because of fear of being judged or shamed. It can be a beautiful way to express yourself by sharing the challenges associated with your abortion, the relief you experienced, or both. Expressing yourself and showing how you’ve stepped into your power and truth by having the abortion is a form of activism for women’s rights across the world. By speaking out, you are demonstrating that abortion is a form of healthcare and it is something which women should have the right to have access to.
It will make you feel lighter because you don’t have to keep it a secret anymore. Doesn’t it feel great when you share something that has been weighing you down and you don’t have to carry around a heavy emotional backpack? If you have kept your abortion story a secret and feel like it is weighing heavily on your heart, sharing it with a safe person in your life is a lovely way to lighten the load. Sharing your story with someone can help you process the feelings surrounding your abortion and not feel alone during the experience. Your abortion story doesn’t need to be a secret or something that you have to carry alone; instead, it can be an opportunity to be supported and loved by the “safe” people in your life.
It helps “shatter the stigma by normalising and humanising a very common procedure” says Kathryn Stamoulis, president of the American Psychological Association’s Society of Media Psychology and Technology. Abortion is exactly that; it is a common procedure and an integral part of women’s health care.
One in four women have an abortion, yet it is something which isn’t commonly spoken about because of the stigma surrounding it.
If you share your abortion story, you are playing a role in normalising this health-care procedure and in reducing the stigma around it. Abortions are for everyone, whether you identify as a woman, nonbinary, or transgender and whether you are a mum already, someone who doesn’t want children or who isn’t in the position to financially support a child, for personal safety or health reasons, or for ANY other reason. If an abortion is the right decision for you, then it should be accessible. By sharing our stories we are not only helping to increase the accessibility of abortions, but we are also reducing the stigma which surrounds abortions being for only one type of person or scenario.
It empowers other women to share their stories too. There is something powerful about feeling like you belong to a group and knowing that you aren’t alone. If you share your story, you are supporting, encouraging, and empowering others to do the same and inspiring them to stand proudly in their truth, with their heads held high. The only justification required should be that it is the right decision for you.
It will help you and other women feel less alone. By sharing your story, you are allowing others who have had an abortion to feel that they belong. This also extends to their support networks, partners, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, and anyone else who supports them along their journeys. By sharing your experience of your abortion, you are letting others know they can be loved and supported during theirs.
Sharing your abortion story is a choice, one which supports others to feel that they belong, creates an empowered environment for others to share their stories, builds a sense of belonging, reduces the stigma surrounding abortions, and is a beautiful way to express yourself and your journey. If you have someone that you can safely share your abortion story with, I encourage you to do so. Allow yourself to be fully seen, heard, and loved for that experience knowing that you are helping yourself and others.